10 common period questions asked by first time menstruators.

period questions, menstruation stigmas, commonly asked period questions, commonly asked questions on menstruation, what is menstruation, what is menstrual hygiene
Anshruta Poddar

10 common period questions asked by first time menstruators

In a country with such a large menstruating population, it is still surprising to note the lack of awareness regarding menstruation. Most menstruators are taken aback when they hit menarche, as they are completely unaware of its existence. Shockingly, even parents and teachers often shy away from educating their adolescent menstruators due to the massive stigma that continues to surround this topic. As a result, first time menstruators have so many questions that run through their minds with regards to the reason and process of menstruation.

Following are some of the most commonly asked questions:

  1. What is the menstrual discharge? Menstrual discharge is a mix of blood, tissues, and mucus that flows out of the vagina as a result of the shedding of the uterine walls.

  2. What is one expected to do during menstruation? During menstruation, one should continue performing all the daily activities and tasks. One need not take a break or do anything differently. Menstruators however, must ensure that they are using clean sanitary products and disposing them off hygienically. Other than this, one is free to carry on with one’s routine tasks through the days of menstruation.

  3. How long will the discharge last? Menstrual discharge lasts 4-7 days on average for most menstruators. The flow depends from body to body and there is no need to be concerned unless the flow is unusually heavy or practically non-existent.

  4. How often will menstruation occur? Menstruation is a monthly occurrence that continues for approximately 40-45 years of a menstruator’s life. These are the child bearing years for a menstruator. On average, menstruation occurs every 21-35 days.

  5. Is this a common occurrence? Menstruation is a perfectly natural and healthy phenomenon. Nearly half the population undergoes this phenomenon, and it is simply the body’s way of showing that it is ready for reproduction.

  6. What is the biological process of menstruation? When a pregnancy has not occurred, the thickened wall of the uterus is no longer required, and hence it disintegrates and flows out of the cervix in the form of menstrual discharge.

  7. Will it be a lifelong occurrence? Menstruation starts anytime between the ages of 9-13 years (called Menarche). It then goes on through the child bearing years of the menstruator. It eventually starts to reduce in frequency and subsequently stops completely at around 45-50 years (called Menopause).

  8. What are the available sanitary products? There is a plethora of available sanitary products in the market and one can use the product of their choice. Sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups are the popular products in the market for menstruation, however, several menstruators prefer to use cotton cloth or other products available at home. As long as the products being used are hygienic and clean, and as long as they are washed or disposed with care, the type of product being used has no adverse impact on the menstruator’s health.

  9. Should menstruation be kept a secret? The orthodox school of thought expected menstruators to keep their menstrual cycle away from the knowledge of others. It was considered a taboo topic, one that must not be spoken about. However, in the 21st century it’s time to change the mindset of the masses and give menstruators the dignity and respect that they deserve. There is absolutely no need to hide this from anyone, as it is a natural biological phenomenon that does not reduce the dignity of the menstruator in any way at all.

  10. What is the reason for the cramps and other symptoms? The physical as well as emotional symptoms that accompany menstruation are very common, and are termed Premenstrual Syndrome. It is said that 3 out of every 4 menstruators get such symptoms. These symptoms include cramps, bloating, fatigue, nausea, mood swings, headaches, etc. Though these can be quite troublesome for some, they are generally nothing to worry about.

The taboo associated with menstruation is truly pitiful. It is extremely unfortunate that a vast majority of youngsters have to resort to the internet to better understand menstruation, as they are unable to talk about it openly with family and friends. Ujaas, an initiative under the Aditya Birla Education Trust, is working towards quashing such stigmas, and encouraging dialogue on this topic. It stands in unity with menstruators as they fight for their rights of being able to have a dignified and respectable period. Team Ujaas conducts workshops and seminars to disseminate information regarding the same, and is also actively engaged in supplying affordable sanitary products in remote parts of the country.

Also read,

5 Misconceptions around menstrual health in India

What are the nutritional requirements during menstruation? How does lack of proper nourishment affect health?